Violent protests erupted across South Minneapolis overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, following the death of an African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer.
The police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at crowds, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for the arrest of the white police officer responsible for Floyd’s death.
46-year-old Floyd died on Monday after the officer pinned him to the ground by pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd can be heard repeatedly pleading that he could not breath in a video gone viral. The footage did not show any attempt by Mr. Floyd to resist officers. Instead, it showed him begging for help as one officer pressed a knee into his neck while three others remain standing by. Eventually, Floyd can be seen to be unable to move or respond, while people watching the incident beg the police officer to remove his knee and put Floyd in a police car.
The four officers involved in the arrest were have since been dismissed. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’s mayor called for the police officer who had pressed his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck to be arrested and charged. The mayor said that the dismissals were not enough. He said, “I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Mayor Frey added, “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now…….”
Tuesday night’s protests saw thousands gather peacefully. Wednesday nights protests, however, were violent across the US. Widespread looting and arson began on Wednesday afternoon through to the early hours of Thursday morning.
The Washington Post reports that the Mayor of Minneapolis had begged people, to stay at home. Frey tweeted, “Please, please Minneapolis, we cannot let tragedy beget more tragedy. Please, help us keep the peace. Stay safe and evacuate the area.”
A fatal shooting in Minneapolis was allegedly related to the looting of a pawnshop. The owner reportedly shot a looter, who later died in hospital.
Floyd’s death has brought to light the killings of other black Americans by members of the country’s law enforcement.
Umm Muhammed Umar